As you’re planning to attend Harris this fall, you may already be thinking about your career outcomes after graduation. We’re happy to share the following benefits, experiences, and outcomes for the Master of Arts in Public Policy with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) program.

Benefits of MACRM

  • Harris PhD-level courses which transfer into Harris’ PhD program (if admitted)
  • Only 15 months long, running from September to the following December
  • Hands-on experience working as a research apprentice on a research project during the summer, and for 10 hours a week during two academic quarters
  • Mathematical Methods for PhD and MACRM Students - quantitative refresher course available before the program starts
  • Funding opportunities through teaching assistant positions
  • Special PhD application process for MACRM students
  • Cohort of approximately 30 students for individualized research opportunities and discussions

What to Expect

MACRM students can generally expect a rigorous, hands-on program with an emphasis on mathematics and data. According to Christopher Blattman, Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, “I have graduate students working on a few different projects: a meta-analysis of the conflict literature; machine learning methods to predict local violence and crime; field experiments in policing and crime reduction; mapping and modeling gangs and criminal organization in Medellin; and globally scaling up and testing promising interventions such as cash transfers for poverty relief, or cognitive behavior therapy for reducing violence—including some ambitious experiments.”

Terrence Chau Chung and Mariela Gomez both completed the MACRM program and were admitted into the PhD program at Harris. Here’s what they had to say:

Terrence Chau Chung

“I was excited to part of such a vibrant, diverse community, and especially impressed by the interplay of departments, and the ways the policy students’ research informed the more quantitative students work.”

Chung also had a few words of advice: “It’s important to take initiative with faculty when seeking assistantships. To find my teaching assistantship, I emailed all of my professors... However, I don’t recommend that you take on a research or teaching assistant role during your first quarter. A teaching assistantship is a built-in part of your program in MACRM later on. First year, focus on coursework and then take on additional research and teaching responsibilities after the first year.”

Mariela Gomez

“Harris offered an excellent balance between theory and applied research. It was definitely at the top in terms of offering a quantitative background. I already have an MA in economics and wanted something very quantitative. There is no other program like the MACRM program. You can have a strong background already and you’ll still learn so much.”

She feels that the MACRM program prepared her well for her PhD.  “During the first year, you take the same classes as the PhD students and you have to work on a research project of interest. My project was devoted to figuring out if being located near, or being involved in, mining has an impact on election outcomes in Peru. After the first year, you present your work in front of your classmates and faculty. It’s an excellent experience for preparing the foundation of your research. That was when I realized I wanted the PhD.”

The advice she gives students is, “It’s a challenging program. At the same time, there is so much reward. You will actually be at a PhD level because you are taking PhD classes with PhD students. You will also be involved in different research projects that will give you strong tools for research, as well as faculty recommendations should you choose to pursue the PhD.”

Graduation Outcomes

The MACRM program was designed to be a stepping stone into either PhD programs or academic research jobs. The MACRM program is relatively new—so far, 3 cohorts have graduated. As intended, many of our graduates end up in PhD programs or research roles. The amount of PhD students coming out of the MACRM program has increased every year.

Last year, seven students were admitted into PhD programs outside of Harris, including Yale, Stanford, NYU Wagner, University of Maryland, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Rochester. Programs varied from economics, political science, and various public policy programs. 

Students who did not immediately pursue PhD programs after the MACRM program entered research assistant/fellow roles at places like the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, Booth School of Business, Energy and Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, J-Pal, Athena Infonomics, and more.